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02.22 To solve its pension crisis, Maryland should change how its funds are invested [as California and other states have discovered...]
02.21 Baltimore public schools face $129 million budget deficit, plan mass layoffs [city needs more help from businesses and the public!]
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02.25 Revealed: thousands of children at London schools breathe toxic air [you can't see the most dangerous pollution, the particles are too small which makes them dangerous]
02.23 Climate scientists face harassment, threats and fears of 'McCarthyist attacks' [sociopathic behavior...]
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02.25 Steve Bannon: Trump is 'maniacally focused' on executing promises [videos; will increasingly unregulated and immoral capitalism save us?]
02.24 Police remove last Standing Rock protesters in military-style takeover [our government supports polluter rights over the public rights]
02.24 'I was naive': after losing healthcare battle, factory workers fear next blow [4:38 video; sociopathic CEOs don't care about workers]
02.24 Islamophobia grows louder in North Carolina: 'Can we not kill them all?' [sociopathic groups uniting in hate]
02.23 Why Kansas' Fiscal Implosion Is Bad News for Trump ["Stupid is as stupid does." – Forrest Gump]
02.24 New Law Would Let Arizona Treat Organized Dissent as Organized Crime [to suppress non-fascists only, perhaps?]
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02.22 Donald Trump's Mystery $50 Million (or More) Loan [will our nation's bookkeeping become more like Trump's?]
02.22 Palestinians must hang on to the green line, whether the aim is two states or one [We mustn't let fear trump morality]
02.22 EUROPE’S CHILD-REFUGEE CRISIS [We mustn't let fear trump morality]
An Illegal War Degenerates
A few months ago, Abir Al-Janabi was just another 14-year-old Iraqi girl in a small town called Al-Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad. Both of her parents are from the Al-Janabi tribe, one of the biggest tribes with Sunni and Shia branches.
Omar Al-Janabi, a neighbor and relative, was informed by Abir's mother that the young girl was being harassed by U.S. soldiers stationed in a nearby checkpoint. That is why Abir was sent to spend the night in her neighbor's home. The next day, Omar Al-Janabi was among the first people who found Abir, with her 34-year-old mother Fakhriyah, her 45-year-old father Qasim, and her 7-year-old sister Hadil, murdered in their home. Abir was raped, killed by a bullet in her head, and then burned on March 12, five months before her fifteenth birthday.
Unlike the case of Haditha, where Iraqi public opinion was furious about the massacre months before it reached to the U.S. mainstream media, the Iraqi press had not even heard of Abir until the U.S. army accidentally found out information about her while investigating another incident. This raises questions about the number of other similar cases that were never investigated and were blamed on non-occupation parties instead.
According to Iraq Body Count, a credible project documenting Iraq's civilian casualties, the occupation armies are directly responsible for killing more than one fourth of civilians in Iraq since the beginning of the war. This makes the assumption that Abir's case is just one of many even more plausible.
The "Hadji Girl" song is yet another indicator that what happened to Abir is most like not an anomalous case. "Hadji Girl" is a videotaped song about killing Iraqis written and performed by U.S. Marine Corporal Joshua Belile while he was at the Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. The song became controversial a few weeks ago when the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) discovered it on the internet and objected to its lyrics.
The lyrics, accompanied by loud laughter and applause, include lines as such as "So I grabbed her little sister and pulled her in front of me. As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally. Then I hid behind the TV, and I locked and loaded my M-16, and I blew those little fuckers to eternity. And I said Dirka Dirka Mohammed Jihad, Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah, they should have known they were fucking with a Marine". A two-week investigation held by the U.S. army ended with no punishment for Corporal Belile. Furthermore, according to the spokesperson for the Mike Church Show, Mike Church is planning to record and release "Hadji Girl" and give royalties to Belile. The right-wing presenter will sing and release the song on air this week.
But even if you believe that the case of Abir is a rare exception, it is still a major scandal in Iraq. Issues relating to honor are even more sensitive for the Iraqi public and government than the ongoing daily civilian murders. The first Iraqi governmental reaction came when an Iraqi female member of Parliament asked for an urgent session for which Prime Minister Al-Maliki was called back home to attend. The Iraqi Parliament described the rape as a crime against "the honor of all Iraqis". As a result, Al-Maliki asked for a review of the laws put in place by U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer, giving foreign troops immunity from prosecution in Iraq. This seems to be an Iraqi public demand. Iraqi tribal leaders had a number of meetings across the country last week on the anniversary of "Thawrat Al-Eshrin", the 1920 revolution against the British occupation. The largest meeting was that of the mostly Shia Middle Euphrates Tribes. During this meeting, they threatened to initiate a full-scale revolution against the occupation, similar to what had happened in 1920, unless the U.S. army hands over to them all soldiers accused of raping the "Al-Mahmudiyah Virgin," as she is now known.
What is happening in Iraq is a rape of a nation, not just a rape of a 14-year-old girl, and it has to be stopped as soon as possible.The uproar created in the wake of the death of Abir is but the culmination of over three years of pent-up frustration and rage the Iraqi people feel. It will only end with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. What is happening in Iraq is a rape of a nation, not just a rape of a 14-year-old girl, and it has to be stopped as soon as possible.
Published in the Baltimore Chronicle with the permission of the author.
Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi living in the United States, is the director of the Iraq Project at Global Exchange. Jarrar can be reached at: email@example.com.
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This story was published on July 12, 2006.